April 10 – FIFA’s 2026 bid inspection team have moved on from Mexico City to Atlanta in the US for the second leg of their three-country, four-stop evaluation tour.
The Mexican leg of the inspection visit is perhaps the trickiest for the United 2026 bid, in light of a study that highlighted concerns about violent attacks on female fans, human rights activists and reporters.
On the positive side, the report acknowledges that it was highly unlikely there would be any abuse of workers on World Cup sites for the United 2026 bid since no stadiums need to be built.
This would be the third time Mexico have hosted a World Cup and the issues raised in the study, prepared by human rights group Ergon, highlight a weakness in the United bid. How far these are social issues as opposed to football-specific issues is somewhat undetermined, and if taken to a logical could force a harder look at Morocco’s own human rights record and issues, especially in the area of LGBT rights.
Ergon identified key risks associated with Mexico hosting 10 of the 80 games in 2026 in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey.
“The majority of women in Mexico City have experienced some form of sexual violence (including verbal harassment and unwanted touching) in their daily commute,” Ergon wrote, citing the United Nations, “which raises issues in relation to the safety of women workers, fans and spectators when they commute to, or are inside competition buildings and spaces.”
The report also identifies a “key risk relates to discriminatory incidents,” pinpointing gay slurs by Mexican fans at matches, including one chant that translates as “male prostitute.” And it adds that Mexico is also “one of the world’s most dangerous places” for reporters (though probably not for football reporters).
But the researchers acknowledged that in general the U.S., Canada and Mexico are “well-established democracies where citizens can freely participate in the conduct of public affairs.”
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